Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

OK: Selman Bat Watch registration available May 31

A blackening of the evening sky as at least a million bats
emerge from their cave is a spectacle Oklahomans can see in their
home state this summer.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Selman Bat
Watches will be held the last four weekends of July at the Selman
Wildlife Management Area near Freedom, where the Selman Bat Cave
attracts migrating Mexican free-tailed bats every year just as it
did 100 years ago. Each night, the bats emerge from the cave to
feast on literally tons of insects, offering a visual spectacle to
onlookers in the process. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for
children 12 and under.

Each night’s viewing activities will be limited to 75 visitors who
are randomly drawn from a pool of mailed in registration forms.
Hopeful viewers must print, complete and mail their registration
form to the Wildlife Department at Bat Watch Program, P.O. Box
53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152 between May 31 and June 7. Only
mailed in registration forms post-marked by June 7 will be
accepted, and instructions for completing the form should be read
carefully to ensure correctly completed registration. Successful
registrants will receive an e-mail confirmation and a packet in the
mail.

“Given the popularity of this event, the Department is using this
approach to streamline its registration process,” said Melynda
Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife
Department.

More information and details about the Selman Bat Watch can be
found online at wildlifedepartment.com.

The Wildlife Department purchased the area around the bat cave in
1996 because of its ecological importance to the Mexican
free-tailed bat. According to Hickman, the cave is important
because it is one of only five major sites in Oklahoma that is used
by females to raise their young.

Hickman says the bats serve as free pest control. The bats spend
daylight hours inside the cave. But most of the action is after
sunset.

“Studies tell us that the bats at Selman Bat Cave eat about 10 tons
(20,000 pounds) of insects, moths and beetles every night,” Hickman
said.

The bats’ evening emergence is the highlight of a Bat Watch, but
there is more to the evening than simply watching bats. Buses take
visitors to the Selman Wildlife Management Area, usually closed to
the public, where they learn facts about bats and the prairie
community. There also is an optional nature hike before the bats
emerge. On Friday and Saturday evenings, staff and telescopes from
the University of Central Oklahoma’s Selman Living Laboratory will
be at the observatory to assist stargazers.

Additionally the Bat Watches benefit the local economy by drawing
tourists from a multi-state region into Oklahoma. Hickman said
Oklahomans enjoy a rare opportunity to get close to wild bats and
to share their importance to the environment and the economy.

For more information, call (405) 424-0099 or log on to
wildlifedepartment.com.

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